Deacons in the NFL - Week 10
Aaron Curry ranks third on the Raiders with 41 tackles this season. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Nov. 17, 2011

By Currie McFayden, WakeForestSports.com

With another week down in the march to Super Bowl XLVI in February, most of the dominant teams in the league maintained the status quo. Green Bay stayed unbeaten with a win over the rival Vikings, New England righted the ship and turned its season back in the right direction by defeating the Jets and San Francisco continued to shock the league by running its record to 8-1 after downing the Giants.

For former Deacons, Week 10 produced more solid performances across the board. Aaron Curry and Calvin Pace each recorded at least six tackles, Fred Robbins notched his fifth straight game with two or more tackles and Tyson Clabo led Atlanta's offensive line in yet another strong outing. In another piece of good news for former Wake players, Brandon Ghee was promoted to Cincinnati's active roster from its practice squad following a season-ending injury to starting CB Leon Hall on Sunday. With injuries wreaking havoc on the secondary, Ghee could be rewarded with a chance to play right away.

Here is a player-by-player look at how the former Deacons fared in Week 10.

OT Tyson Clabo, Atlanta Falcons
Despite the heartbreaking 26-23 loss to the Saints on Sunday afternoon, the Falcons' offensive line is continuing to play its best football of the season. Clabo and his fellow linemen have surrendered just seven sacks in Atlanta's last five games, a number that averages out to one sack for every 48 offensive plays run during that period. On Sunday, more powerful run blocking was on display once again as Atlanta piled up 138 rushing yards on 32 total carries, and starting RB Michael Turner racked up 106 yards from scrimmage with 96 on the ground and 10 through the air. Next up for the Falcons (5-4) is an intra-conference clash with the Tennessee Titans (5-4) and resurgent running back Chris Johnson that is slated for a late afternoon kickoff in Week 11. Atlanta currently sits in second place in the NFC South division, one game ahead of Tampa Bay.

 

 

LB Aaron Curry, Oakland Raiders
Headlining in the first Thursday night game of the year, the Raiders grabbed control of the AFC West with a 24-17 victory over the Chargers. The defense pressured former NC State QB Philip Rivers throughout the entire game, and Curry picked up six tackles, including one for loss, for the second straight week. His 41 total tackles this season ranks third on the team behind only Tyvon Branch and Rolando McClain. Although he has yet to record a sack in Oakland, Curry's increased pressure has led to huge games from fellow LB Kamerion Wimbley, including a four-sack performance against San Diego. The Raiders (5-4) will trek eastward to the Metrodome to face the Minnesota Vikings (2-7) in one of Week 11's early afternoon games. Oakland leads the AFC West, but with a logjam of three teams with 4-5 records behind them, the Raiders cannot afford any unnecessary losses.

LB Calvin Pace, New York Jets
Facing New England, their archrivals, on Sunday Night Football, Pace and the Jets came up short in a battle for control of the AFC East with a 37-16 defeat. The ninth-year linebacker maintained his solid run, however, and tied for the team lead in tackles with seven. The Patriots' offensive line prevented the defense from tallying a sack, but Pace still managed to stay near the ball carrier at all times. He remains on pace to potentially have his best season since arriving in New York as a free agent following his final season with the Cardinals in 2007. For the second consecutive week, Wake Forest will be represented in prime time on Thursday night as New York (5-4) makes the cross-country trip to Invesco Field to face QB Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos (4-5). Despite the loss to the Pats, the Jets remain in the hunt within the AFC East and hold second place by virtue of a tiebreaker over Buffalo.

DT Fred Robbins, St. Louis Rams
A healthy dose of luck for St. Louis and misfortune for Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson handed the Rams a 13-12 victory after a missed chip shot field goal with time winding down. Robbins enjoyed his fifth straight game with multiple tackles as he brought down the ball carrier three times as part of a solid defensive effort by the entire unit. St. Louis (2-7) will face a revenge game in Week 11 as they face the Seattle Seahawks (3-6) for the first time since Seattle prevailed in the final week of the regular season last year to snag the NFC West's automatic bid to the playoffs. The Rams currently sit in fourth place but are just a game back of both Seattle and Arizona.

CB Alphonso Smith, Detroit Lions
Smith was declared inactive for Detroit's underwhelming 37-13 loss to the Bears in Week 10, a disappointing loss for a team that started the season 5-0. The Lions (6-3) are tied with Chicago for second place in the NFC North and will look to rebound in Week 11 as they host the Carolina Panthers (2-7) and rookie phenom QB Cam Newton at Ford Field.

OT Steve Vallos, Cleveland Browns
Like Smith, Vallos was also inactive during the Browns' heartbreaking defeat against St. Louis. The offensive line provided solid run protection (30 carries for 126 yards), but that alone was not enough to get Cleveland the victory. The Browns (3-6) are in fourth place in the AFC North and will host the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-6) in an early afternoon game during Week 11.

LS Joe Zelenka, Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta's field goal unit that features Zelenka and kicker Matt Bryant finally suffered its first setback of the season as Bryant missed a 41-yarder wide left just before halftime, snapping a streak of 29 consecutive field goals. He did manage to rebound, though, and nailed a 27-yard attempt as time expired to send the game into overtime. With Zelenka as its anchor, the Falcons' special teams unit remains one of the strongest in the league.

Deacons on NFL Practice Squads
OG Chris DeGeare, Minnesota Vikings

Deacons on Injured Reserve (out for the season)
FB Ovie Mughelli, Atlanta Falcons

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